This blog provides an informal forum for terrestrial invertebrate watchers to post recent sightings of interesting observations in the southern Vancouver Island region. Please send your sightings by email to Jeremy Tatum ( Be sure to include your name, phone number, the species name (common or scientific) of the invertebrate you saw, location, date, and number of individuals. If you have a photograph you are willing to share, please send it along. Click on the title above for an index of past sightings.The index is updated most days.

April 19

2015 April 19


   Aziza Cooper writes:


We are beginning the 2015 Butterfly Count season.  As always, the count period is from the 3rd Saturday to the 4th Sunday – nine days.  A warm spring has already brought the butterflies out.


To submit your results, please log in to the Victoria Natural History site using the link

Then look for “Popular Items” on the right hand side, and click on “Butterfly Count”.

Submit a separate form for each area you count, so I can take the higher number in case of double counting.


If you’d like a suggestion about what area to count, send me an email.  tanageraz at


Please let me know if you want to be removed from this list. If you know of anyone who would like to be added, please give them my email address.


Thanks for submitting your sightings, and happy counting! 


The monthly butterfly walk is held on the first Sunday of each month – May 3rd is the next walk. We start at the summit of MountTolmie at 1pm, and decide where to go from there. The walk will be cancelled if the weather is cool or rainy.


   Aziza also writes:  Today, Rick Schortinghuis and I found all three species of elfins, and six other species at Camas Hill. We saw the first Pale Swallowtail of the season. We also saw a very interesting moth, a Fairy Longhorn, with black and white barred wings and antennae far longer than its body.


Two-banded Checkered Skipper – 1

Pale Swallowtail – 1

Cabbage White – 6

Sara Orangetip – 5

Brown (Western Elfin) – 4

Moss’s Elfin – 4

Western Pine Elfin – 2

Spring Azure – 8

comma species – 1


One Mourning Cloak was seen by Moralea soon after we left and I went to Mount Tolmie and found a Painted Lady for my tenth species of the day.


Two-banded Skipper Pyrgus ruralis (Lep.: Hesperiidae)  Aziza Cooper

Fairy Longhorn Adela septentrionella (Lep.: Incurvariidae)  Aziza Cooper



   Bill Katz writes:  I found a Cedar Hairstreak on Summit Hill on Sunday afternoon, April 19.  Also seen were a Painted Lady, two Western Brown Elfins and many Western Spring Azures and Cabbage Whites.



Cedar Hairstreak Mitoura rosneri (Lep.: Lycaenidae)  Bill Katz


   Jeremy Tatum sends a picture of a snail from the Blenkinsop Valley, and a beetle from Bow Park, April 19.   Thank you, Scott Gilmore, for identifying the beetle for me.


Cepaea nemoralis (Pul.: Helicidae)   Jeremy Tatum

Enoclerus eximius (Col.: Cleridae)   Jeremy Tatum

   Karen Ferguson writes that the Propertius Duskywings that she saw (see April 19) were not ovipositing, but were really probing the Garry Oak buds with their proboscides. This is most interesting behaviour.  Has anyone else noticed it?  I wonder what they are getting from the almost-open buds.


April 18

2015 April 18


   Jeremy Tatum writes:   Yesterday (April 17) there were several Satyr Commas in Lochside Drive between Blenkinsop Lake and Lohbrunner’s.  Also at 4:00 pm there was a California Tortoiseshell basking on the Mount Tolmie reservoir.


   Today (April 18) in the Hydro line next to Spectacle Lake I saw a Western Pine Elfin, a Mourning Cloak, and several Sara Orangetips.   To find a Pine Elfin you must first find a few Lodgepole Pines – the butterfly is closely associated with that tree.


   On March 22 I posted a photograph of an ichneumonid coccon.  The insect emerged from its cocoon today (April 18), and here it is.   Thanks to Scott Gilmore for identifying it as Ophion sp.


Ichneumon wasp Ophion sp.  (Hym.: Ichneumonidae)  Jeremy Tatum


   Val George writes:  Here is a photo of a Brown Elfin from Government House this afternoon, April 18.


Western Brown Elfin Incisalia iroides (Lep.: Lycaenidae) Val George



   Annie Pang writes: Got this caterpillar at Gorge Park, Victoria, B.C. April 17, 2015.  It was literally “hanging by a thread” from a Douglas Fir next to a Lodgepole Pine.  It was small and you can see (if you look closely) the thread coming from its mouth.  I just put a stick under it so I could hold it to get these shots.  Any ideas what it is?  Its appearance is great camouflage as it just looked like a piece of twig hanging from the tree.  [Jeremy replies:  It is Neoalcis californiaria.]


Neoalcis californiaria (Lep.: Geometridae)   Annie Pang



   Karen Ferguson writes:   Attached are photos of Propertius Duskywings that I took today (April 18). I was working in the Mt. Maxwell Ecological Reserve Garry Oak Meadows. Duskies were everywhere on the wing today and many were mating as can be seen in one of the photos. Lots of territorial activity and it was also interesting to watch them nectar on the freshly opening buds of the oak trees. The buds were barely open, certainly no flower present so I suppose there is something available for the taking.  [Jeremy asks:  Were they nectaring – or ovipositing?!   Garry Oak is the larval foodplant.  Maybe you can find some eggs!]  I saw an Anna’s Hummingbird checking them out too. Also present were Sara Orangetip, Satyr Comma and a blue that was too fast for me.


Female Propertius Duskywing Erynnis propertius (Lep.: Hesperiidae)

 Karen Ferguson


Propertius Duskywings Erynnis propertius (Lep.: Hesperiidae)

Karen Ferguson


Jeremy comments:  I think that’s the female above, the male below.



April 17

2015 April 17


   Barb McGrenere writes:  Late this afternoon (April  16), Mike and I went to the summit of Mount Douglas to look for butterflies.  Flying and basking at the summit near the teacup were 2 Grey Hairstreaks; several Propertius Duskywings; one Red Admiral; at least 4 California Tortoiseshells chasing each other.  On the summit near the towers were about 4 Sara Orangetips and another 2 Propertius Duskywings.


  Marie O’Shaughnessy writes: I thought you might like this one…taken at the top of Observatory Hill April 15.  A lovely warm morning around 10 am.

Female Propertius Duskywing Erynnis propertius (Lep.: Hesperiidae)

Marie O’Shaughnessy


   Annie Pang sends a picture of a fly that she photographed at Gorge Park on April 14.

The grey thorax with black markings, combined with the straight fourth vein, mark it as an anthomyiid.  Annie describes it in her inimitable manner:


An itsy bitsy fly upon a wee, little daisy

was sunning in a manner that I thought was rather lazy.

My camera was ready though my eyes felt somewhat hazy

but I got pics of the fly upon that wee, little daisy.


Fly Anthomyia sp. (Dip.: Anthomyiidae)  Annie Pang

April 16

2015 April 16


   Jeremy Tatum writes:  Here is a young caterpillar, a full-grown caterpillar, and an adult

Euceratia securella.  The caterpillar was found and reared on Snowberry on Mount Tolmie, and the adult was released on Mount Tolmie today.


Euceratia securella (Lep.: Plutellidae)  Jeremy Tatum

 Euceratia securella (Lep.: Plutellidae)  Jeremy Tatum



Euceratia securella (Lep.: Plutellidae)  Jeremy Tatum

   Jeremy reports from Munn Road today (April 16), an early Tiger Swallowtail (not sure whether Western or Pale), a Green Comma, a Propertius Duskywing, a Western Brown Elfin and several Sara Orangetips and Western Spring Azures.


   Nathan Fisk writes:  Anise Swallowtail spotted at Thetis Lake halfway up Seymour Hill, and another near the Esquimalt Lagoon today.





2015 April 15


   Annie Pang sends a photo of a bee fly (probably Bombylius major) from Gorge Park on April 9.  The larvae of these flies are parasitoidal on bees, such as Andrena sp.  The long, straight, proboscis is just that – it is used for imbibing nectar, not for stinging, and it is not as vicious as it looks.


Bee fly Bombylius major (Dip.:  Bombyliidae)  Annie Pang


   Nathan Fisk reports a good view of a Painted Lady nectaring on Sea Blush at Fort Rodd Hill on April 14, as well as several Sara Orangetips.


    Interestingly, Jeff Gaskin also reports a lady, believed to be a Painted Lady, from Christmas Hill, on April 15, as well as two Sara Orangetips, a Western Spring Azure, a Propertius Duskywing, and several Cabbage Whites.


   Scott Gilmore writes from Upper Lantzville: 

 I found a number of fly puparia in a compost leaf pile on April 6th. I had no idea what they might be so I hung onto them.   On the 11th flies started to emerge.

  After some correspondence, Jeremy and Scott agree that the flies are a species of Phaonia.  They agree very well with P. subventa, and also with European P. rufiventris (also known as P. populi).  It seems safest to label them as probably P. subventa.



Phaonia (probably subventa) (Dip.: Muscidae)  Scott Gilmore

Phaonia (probably subventa) (Dip.: Muscidae) Scott Gilmore


   Scott continues:  I also came across a Cixiid Planthopper (Family Cixiidae) something I have only seen once before.



Planthopper (Hem.: Cixiidae)  Scott Gilmore



  Yesterday (April 14)at a local beach I found Endeodes collaris, a Soft-winged Flower Beetle from the family Melyridae:

Soft-winged Flower Beetle Endeodes collaris (Col.:  Melyridae)

Scott Gilmore